By Michelle Leidy-Franklin
CLEARWATER – The top administrative spot at Clearwater High School has been filled with a new, familiar face.
Eric Cooper is the new high school principal. Cooper previously worked for the Clearwater Middle School for 13 years as the seventh-grade math teacher before accepting his first administrative position in Winfield. He worked as the assistant principal at Winfield High School for two years before returning to Clearwater.
“I’m excited to be back in Clearwater,” said Cooper.
Cooper grew up in a small-town environment similar to the communities he has worked in. His mother was a teacher in his hometown for 42 years. Cooper was taught math and social studies by his own mother while attending public school. He also had an uncle who was a college professor. Surrounded by educators growing up made a career in education a natural choice for Cooper.
Cooper is the father of two and is currently residing with his wife in Derby. His oldest child will finish her senior year at Derby High School. She is considering becoming a teacher like her father, or a school counselor like her mother. Like her father, she has been raised by educators and is considering going into the family business.
Cooper then intends to move his family to Clearwater to raise his 3-year-old son in the Clearwater School District.
As a teacher, Cooper participated in other activities at the schools he worked for. He has coached softball, golf and basketball in Clearwater. He has officiated for both high school and college football. He also was a sponsor for the middle school student council to help promote student leadership.
“We had a great team at Clearwater Middle School,” said Cooper. “I wanted to try something new and with some encouragement from my colleagues, I decided to go into administration.”
The encouragement of his peers helped him make the move from teaching to administrative work. He said other teachers told him he would make a good school administrator and it helped him decide to give it a try. Cooper then pursued and received a master of science in educational administration from Fort Hays State University.
“We had other highly qualified applicants, but what stood out to us about Eric is his passion for building relationships with students and staff. He believes in and cares about our district. He is excited to be a Clearwater Indian again,” said district superintendent Chris Cooper on the USD 264 website.